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CALL. 30.11.2016: Tonight will be a memory too’ - Memory and landscapes (Session for Kiel Internatio



LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Kiel University (Kiel, Germany)


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Apart from an extension in time, memories have another extension in space. The act or series of actions that are remembered always took place somewhere in space, i.e. they had a location. Memorials are frequently constructed in or close to landscapes connected to the memory they attempt to preserve. French historian Pierre Norra maintained that “lieux de memoire” (memory spaces) can substitute the real environment of memories and counter their fading. This provides a very static image of memories and landscapes that we would like to critically discuss. After all, memories have a precarious position; as soon as an event enters memory it is no longer directly experienceable, and may even be lost or on the verge of disappearing. The landscape can only serve as a mere container of memories which is attempting to preserve them in their original meaning. However, this is a futile cause due to the ever transforming character of both memories and landscapes. The attempt to preserve memories by physical means though the landscape is what Paul Connerton has called “an inscribing practice”, however there is a vast difference between approaching the act of trying to preserve memories as an inscribing practice, to seeing memories in themselves as physically inscribed. A second practice of transferring memories is what Connerton has called an incorporating practice, which is through our bodily habits and routines. Since these habits are carried out in a physical environment filled with residues of previous events, the landscape is crucial for the shaping and structuring of memories. Furthermore, the landscape can serve as a spatial framework giving memories the illusion of permanence and stability. This session intends to address memory and landscape in a more nuanced and fluid fashion than advocated by Nora, through asking a series of questions and discuss possible ways forward: How do sudden and extreme changes in the physical landscape, for example through war or natural disaster, affect our memories of the past? How does the perception of landscapes change and how does this affect our perception of memories? What is the relation of human action and the potential longue durée of landscapes in the preservation, transmission and transformation of memories? Are some landscapes and memories more stable than others? How are memories and landscapes re-interpreted by later observers? What consequence can such a re-interpretation have for the landscapes? How do memories change the perception of landscapes? How can an invented or distorted memory change the role and use of a landscape? Is it possible to address how landscapes of memory were imagined and described by people in the past? What is the role of future aspirations and goals in the structuring of memories through the landscape? If you are interested to contribute with a paper or if you have further questions, contact, or

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